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Blog posts : "marcellus shale"

Energy Update, February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

In the States

IL – Governor Pat Quinn said in his budget address that he would like to close a tax loophole that allows companies to avoid paying taxes on profits earned from selling oil and gas in Illinois that is extracted offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.  Illinois’ current corporate tax law specifically excludes “exploration for or exploitation of natural resources” from anywhere outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Governor Quinn has stated that the loophole costs the State $75 million per year, though the oil industry disagrees with that estimate.  The Governor raised this issue in 2009, but the State’s law was not changed; it still faces opposition today.  Quinn wants to eliminate tax loophole that helps oil companiesChicago Tribune

PA – Governor Tom Corbett has signed three energy-related bills into law.  One would give counties the option of imposing an “impact fee” on wells producing natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.  While the new law ensures that Pennsylvania is no longer the only natural gas-producing State without a tax on its production, the effective rate, if imposed by the county at all, would be far lower than any other State.  Sixty percent of the revenues from the fees would go to participating local governments, while another portion would be used to purchase natural gas-powered vehicles for the State fleet.  The other two laws signed by the Governor would allow utilities to raise rates to recover the costs of improvements prior to completion and provides tax incentives intended to help attract a new petrochemical refinery to western Pennsylvania that could create thousands of jobs and millions in new revenue to the State.  Corbett signs 3 key energy-sector billsScranton Times-Tribune

National News

President Barack Obama has released his annual budget request to Congress, which calls for $27.2 billion in funding for the Energy Department, a 3.2 percent increase.  The President’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 would increase spending for energy efficiency, safety, conservation, renewable energy, and nuclear power, and would offset much of that expansion by ending $4 billion in tax breaks to oil and gas companies.  Specifically, the budget would increase funding for a grant program to states for pipeline safety by 50 percent and the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration by 44 percent.  The Office of Nuclear Energy would receive a total of $770 million, part of which would be used to research small modular nuclear reactors and nuclear waste research.  Clean energy funding would increase by $580 million, or about 13 percent, and would include programs to make solar power more cost-competitive and research geothermal and offshore wind energy.  Another research initiative, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Efficiency (ARPA-E), would receive a 37 percent increase, bringing its funding up to $350 million.  Funding for fossil fuels would increase as well, and would include research on methods of hydraulic fracturing that would be less harmful to the environment.  A program to invest in energy efficiency in the Department of Defense would more than double, from $400 million to $1 billion.  An agency-by-agency guide to Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal 2013Washington Post and Obama seeks clean energy, pipeline funds in budgetMSNBC

 

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Energy Update, August 26, 2011

August 26, 2011

In the States

WY – Governor Matt Mead, in a speech to the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, said that he rejects the notion that environmental protection and energy development are mutually exclusive.  The Governor said that “we need a global approach to environmental concerns” and that the U.S. already has many controls in place to protect the environment.  And while Governor Mead also made the point that energy development is a national security issue, he cited a study showing that $160 million in revenue per year was lost by oil and gas companies doing business in the State due to requirements for environmental studies and permits.  Mead says Wyo. can have energy and conservation – Wyoming Business Report

A bipartisan coalition of Governors from 24 States recently sent a letter to President Obama urging him to focus on wind energy development.  The letter, which was signed by the coalition’s chair, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Vice Chair, Terry Branstad of Iowa, said that the production tax credit and investment tax credit programs for renewable energy should be extended for seven years.  It also called for the creation of a state-federal task force, greater state collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), accelerated development of offshore wind power, identification of transmission priorities, and a release of U.S. DOE renewable energy information.  24 Governors urge White House to focus on wind power development – SustainableBusiness.com and Letter to President Obama – Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition

Federal News

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has cut its estimate of how much recoverable natural gas is available in the Marcellus Shale by nearly 80 percent.  Earlier this year, the EIA, which is responsible for estimating oil and gas deposits underground, said it believed 410 trillion cubic feet of the fuel was available in the rock formation that stretches from New York to Virginia.  But the agency revised that number to 84 trillion as a result of a new U.S. Geological Survey study that relied on the expertise of geologists whom the EIA considers to be “the experts on this matter.”  The large discrepancies between the estimates have caused some business leaders and members of Congress to question the accuracy of such studies.  A 2002 study by the Geological Survey estimated that two trillion cubic feet could be extracted from the Marcellus Shale, but that was before advancements in extraction technology made much more natural gas available for extraction.  Geologists sharply cut estimate of shale gas – New York Times

The U.S. Interior Department has opened an area off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island to leasing for wind farm developments.  Energy companies are now submitting proposals to the Interior Department, which will use the proposals to conduct coordinated reviews of the proposals and streamline the leasing process.  Environmental reviews would still need to be conducted on the proposed developments.  Similar areas were designated for offshore wind farms earlier this year off the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, and leasing is expected to begin as early as next year.  In contrast, it took 10 years to obtain permits for the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts.  U.S. seeks offshore wind bids in Rhode Island, Massachusetts – San Francisco Chronicle

 

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